a1 University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
It has long been axiomatic in the study of postbiblical Judaism that prophecy had become a dormant institution. For scholars studying Judaism in its many ancient manifestations, prophecy was a phenomenon closely related to the heritage of biblical Israel. It disappeared as biblical Israel gave way to Judaism in the aftermath of the Babylonian exile. This scholarly assumption has found support in several texts from ancient Judaism that indeed espouse such a position. In recent years, the dominance of this consensus has begun to wither away as scholars have become both more fully aware of the diverse forms of Judaism in the Second Temple and rabbinic periods and more sensitive to the multiple modes of religious piety in ancient Judaism. In this article, I would like to extend the contours of this conversation by mapping out some methodological rubrics for the study of prophecy in ancient Judaism and discuss one context for the application of this methodology—the Qumran community.
1. This article is based on some of the methods employed and conclusions reached in Alex P. Jassen, Mediating the Divine: Prophecy and Revelation in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Second Temple Judaism (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2007) [Google Scholar]. Thank you to the publisher for permission to reprint some overlapping content. Earlier versions of portions of this article were presented at the 2005 and 2006 annual meetings of the Association for Jewish Studies. Thank you to all those in attendance for their helpful feedback. All Hebrew Bible translations follow NJPS unless otherwise noted.